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Interfaith UniverSoul: “Using Humor to Beat Depression”

By Priscilla Mensah

Guess what everyone? The circus is in town, and attending may be not only entertaining but also good for your health. The circus that I am referring to is the UniverSoul Circus which largely features African-American-themed acts. While attending this circus, you are sure to jam to some of the hottest African-American songs and dance to all the latest dance moves.

In my household, going to the circus meant one thing, and one thing only. This meant that we would be in Prospect Park for the UniverSoul Circus. My father loved that going to the circus meant we would see ourselves on stage and be represented in a positive light. I especially looked forward to being thoroughly entertained each year.

Research suggests that humor, which is heavily present in the acts of the UniverSoul Circus, can be beneficial in combatting depression in children and seniors. Maybe that is the real reason why I looked forward to the circus each year but was too young at the time to realize it.

Going to the UniverSoul Circus and watching various things such as men on stilts, outrageously dressed clowns and acrobats in the air can be great for your emotional well-being. Doing so allows your mind to take a break from what may be stressing you and refocus on something more positive. Under this context, humor acts as a distractor of sorts (


Comedian Kevin Hart is a great example of how humor can be beneficial in combatting depression. Hart draws from occurrences in his own personal life, both past and present, to create his comedy skits. Many of the things that he jokes about, under normal circumstances, can easily cause depression. The comedian chooses to present serious issues in a way that is entertaining and humorous. Much like the acts of the UniverSoul Circus, Hart’s skits are great for the soul and are sure to leave the audience “weak,” as the young people would say in referring to the state of extreme laughter.

This concept of using humor to combat depression is nothing new. I have come across countless books that lists laughter as a remedy for anxiety. Moreover, I have seen several documentaries on prominent comedians that highlight the fact that many of them had difficult upbringings and turned to humor and comedy for relief.

Equipped with this information, it makes perfect sense that the UniverSoul Circus partnered with Interfaith Medical Center to host Health Night on April 11, 2017 at 7pm. Health Night, which took place at Floyd Bennett Field @Aviator Sports, included LaRay Brown, CEO of Interfaith Medical Center as guest ringmaster. For those who entered the code HEALTH, tickets were discounted 25%.

Priscilla Mensah is an avid reader and scholar who resides in Brooklyn, New York. Her passions include community empowerment and improvement. Priscilla can be reached at